There is an option, a very simple way to get excellent free professional development provided by IATEFL monthly webinars.
Interviewed by Kirsteen Donaghy for IATEFL Manchester Online, Caroline Moore and Mercedes Viola talk about the monthly webinars open to IATEFL members and non-members, clarifying that after a week they are exclusive to members only.
Monthly webinars are announced on social media: Facebook, Twitter and also by word of mouth, Mercedes added, and the topics are of global interest for all teachers, such as storytelling, methodology or teaching strategies.
There is a great line-up of speakers for the coming sessions and all the information can be found on IATEFL Webinars webpage.
A big conference is also coming up on October 2, 3 and 4 this year again.
Caroline and Mercedes hold online meetings to organize these events several times a week, and practise using tools and approaches but not all meet at the same time, so it requires a big commitment, comments Kirsteen Donaghy.
All speakers do some training on the platform beforehand one or twice, depending on the teacher´s level of self-confidence but Caroline says that even new speakers with no experience talking online, do perfectly well.
On Tuesday, Caroline Moore will talk about some analysis she has done about the purpose of the chat while holding webinars. Is chat useful?, Are all speakers satisfied?, she wonders.
After some research, she found out that people using the chat have an extremely enriching opportunity because teachers learn from and with teachers. As they tend to start to know each other, new participants feel comfortable and begin sharing their ideas, Mercedes says.
All in all, they came to a conclusion: when educators are in a face to face seminar they get to talk to people only next to them, sometimes it is hard to reach the person seating at the other end of the room, but online participants have the chance to mingle and exchange ideas all at the same time in real time.